Dear Dr.Love:I do not even know where to begin, but here goes. I am 36 years old, the mother of a 12 yr. old girl with a limited divorce, which basically means we are not together, but cannot marry anyone. As such he is obligated to provide certain husbandly perks i.e. health insurance for me until such time as we have an absolute divorce. Mind you this does not exist anymore for all practical terms but it was what my husband served me with and so it is. Last Jan. he served me with absolute divorce papers, but never followed through with his attorney. Believe it or not we are good friends, get along well (probably better than in marriage) which occurred 13 yrs. ago, although we have lived apart in separate states for the past 7 yrs. We are not intimate but can sleep in the same bed. We have travelled together with our daughter without any problems.He tells me I am an outstanding woman, one of a kind yet he won’t get on the pot or off. I have had two intense relationships since split. Both men have told me I am the best, one of a kind–beauty, heart, intelligence, drive, good mother–yet I am alone. One man left me to find himself, found a wife and a baby along the way during our 1 1/2 yr split, but he still wants me in his life. ‘He can’t get me out of his heart and mind.’ His wife and daughter live in Germany. She knows of me and believes me to be the’senior wife’ in fact all of his family and friends believe this to be the case as well.The second man is married for his own’illegal purpose.’ When we met he told me that he could leave her at any time. In my stupidity I believed him. We spent every moment together when we were not at the hospital. He consumed me in every way and as love starved as I was I couldn’t stop him. Well once every month or so he would send time with his’wife’ and not even cover the evidence at his place. I would see condom wrappers in the trash, her hair in the sink on the floor in his brush,etc. and he would tell me I was crazy. Me yes I was!!! But I was still enamored. He would tell me I was the best–a beautiful girl, inteligent, travelled, experienced, mature, a good mother and woman–yet I am alone.Dr. Love I have finally come to my senses and removed both of these men from my life, but along comes an old love with the same line–married, enamored by me wanting sex, companionship and whatever else. This man says I am unique, special unlike any other woman he has ever known–beauty, intelligence, class, flexibility in any situation.We were actually thinking about marriage previously in our relationship and he reflects on that often. His mother adores me and states he should have me for as wife I also know his brother and sister in law, who by the way went to school with the’illegally’ married man I spoke of (This is all by chance because they live on another continent.)Anyway, Dr. Love this long convoluted story is just to say’What is wrong with me.?’ I am beginning to wonder if I have’Doormat’ written over my forehead. Why am I Soo Goood in so many ways, but Not Good Enough for a meaningful monogamous relationship. They won’t leave me. All say’I ‘ll never leave you.’ and they beat me down until I give in at least sexually. The excitment and passion pumps me up, until they leave and I am reminded that I’m all alone and borrowing another woman’s time.I realize this is not the forum in which you can address me Dr. Love, but I appreciate your taking the time to read it anyway. Just putting down this small fraction has helped.Peace and God’s Blessings to You and your work in the New Year.
You were sure that you wouldn’t be answered by me, and you were! I have the impression that you don’t expect to receive much in this life. When we don’t expect much, we receive little. And, this is what’s happening in your relationships. You give all to men that aren’t available and receive a few crumbs in return. The tragic aspect here is that when you receive crumbs, you interpret the experience as your not being good enough.Your relationships have failed, not because you are not good enough, but because each relationship that you mentioned had a fatal flaw. The men you chose to date were attached to other women.You are not engaged in this pattern because you are stupid or a doormat. You are doing this because your mind is trying to heal a wound from childhood. I know this because of the repetitive aspect of your love life. Repetition is the first clue that unfinished childhood business if afoot. Whenever we get locked in repetitive struggles, the unconscious mind is recreating a core scene from childhood so that it can work for a happier ending.Your challenge is to figure out what childhood trauma is being recreated in these doomed love affairs. Then, you need to understand what happy ending you are after. Since your repetition always involves a triangle–you, the man and the other woman, there’s a good chance that your mind is replaying the first triangle of your life: you, your dad and mom.Next, you need to figure out what painful aspect of your relationship with mom and dad is being played out today. Did you feel that dad loved you but never gave you enough? When your love affairs fail, how do you feel now? What happened during your childhood that caused you to feel this same pain?Next, ask how you wanted your parent to treat you (your happy ending). When you figure all this out, you will know what happy ending you are seeking in your adult love affairs. It sounds like your happy ending is to win a man away from the other woman. If this is your wish, you must tell yourself that this ending can never come about. Women rarely’win’ a men away from their wives, any more than a child can win her daddy away from mommy. In other words, your happy ending may need to be modified from: winning dad away from mom to, I want to be a man’s number one.Bottom line, once you understand what childhood scene you are replaying and what happy ending you seek, you have a fighting chance to form healthier relationships. From here on in, before allowing yourself to become involved with another man, you need to ask yourself whether the relationship will replay your childhood scene including the tragic ending. If your potential lover is attached to another, you can stop yourself from moving forward, by reminding yourself that the story is going to end in tragedy. Through awareness, you can spare yourself the hell by not beginning.Lack of awareness has caused you to unwittingly chase after a fairy tale ending that had nightmare written all over it. Now, with awareness, you can stop yourself before you start. Awareness is the first step toward healing this pattern. Remember, don’t move forward with any new relationships without thorough scrutiny. Keep asking yourself whether this new relationship can bring your happy ending. If it can’t, buy a vibrator and steer clear. Good luck.